Monday, July 30, 2007

Lessons from the kitchen

Here's what we had in the fridge on Friday night after I picked up our CSA allotment.

And this is what I've made from this abundance so far:

Blackberry Pie using blackberries from Stehly Farms in Valley Center. (I adapted the filling recipe below from this month's Sunset magazine.)

5 cups blackberries (you can also use raspberries, marionberries, and other bramble berries)
1/4 cup flour
About 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter

Place berries in large bowl. Sprinkle with flour, 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Stir gently until berries are well coated. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Pour berry mixture into chilled bottom crust and dot with butter. Lay top crust over and crimp pie edges together. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar.

Lesson learned: Frozen pie crust is immensely less superior than the real thing. Sigh. That's what I get for trying to cut corners!

Some Guacamole from a fairly basic recipe that I always change a bit to suit my mood.

2 ripe avocados
½ onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced (chili powder can suffice in a pinch)
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
A dash of freshly grated black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Cut avocados in half, remove seed, and scoop out avocado from the peel. Place in mixing bowl and using a fork (or a potato masher, as is my preference), mash the avocado so that it is slightly chunky. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Refrigerate until cool. Mix in tomatoes when you're ready to serve.

Lesson learned: There is no way that an unripe avocado can be convinced that it should be smooshed. Enough said.

And finally, Root Soup, adapted from a recipe in the Local Flavors cookbook by Deborah Madison.

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 large onions, finely diced
2 bunches of bok choy: stalks, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks and with the greens shredded
1 carrot, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
3 turnips, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups red kale, shredded
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 beets (or 1 large beet), peeled and sliced into julienne strips
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. sugar
10 cups of vegetable broth
3 tbsp. white vinegar

Prepare all vegetables as indicated above. Melt the butter in a large French oven. Add the onions, bok choy, carrot, turnips, kale, and garlic. Toss with salt, cover, and cook over medium heat until greens have wilted, about 20 minutes. Add beets, tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until beets are tender, about 25 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Stir in the vinegar. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with parsley or dill.

Lesson learned: Beets still turn everything pink regardless of what they're mixed with. The soup didn't turn out fuschia, but it did have a bit of a rosy tone. Because it tasted so good, I decided to disregard it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's quite an amazing stock of veggies in your fridge. Are you having fun with all the cooking? I need a couple days off work so I can try some of these recipes! Definitely inspiring.

With my new job, I'm going to be able to cook dinner at least 5 days a week, so now I can join a CSA. Can't wait for my stockpile of fresh fruit and veggies!